Tag Archives: lebanon

Haber et al Lebanon Data

Haber et al published a paper Genome-Wide Diversity in the Levant Reveals Recent Structuring by Culture in PLoS Genetics. Here's their abstract:

The Levant is a region in the Near East with an impressive record of continuous human existence and major cultural developments since the Paleolithic period. Genetic and archeological studies present solid evidence placing the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula as the first stepping-stone outside Africa. There is, however, little understanding of demographic changes in the Middle East, particularly the Levant, after the first Out-of-Africa expansion and how the Levantine peoples relate genetically to each other and to their neighbors. In this study we analyze more than 500,000 genome-wide SNPs in 1,341 new samples from the Levant and compare them to samples from 48 populations worldwide. Our results show recent genetic stratifications in the Levant are driven by the religious affiliations of the populations within the region. Cultural changes within the last two millennia appear to have facilitated/maintained admixture between culturally similar populations from the Levant, Arabian Peninsula, and Africa. The same cultural changes seem to have resulted in genetic isolation of other groups by limiting admixture with culturally different neighboring populations. Consequently, Levant populations today fall into two main groups: one sharing more genetic characteristics with modern-day Europeans and Central Asians, and the other with closer genetic affinities to other Middle Easterners and Africans. Finally, we identify a putative Levantine ancestral component that diverged from other Middle Easterners ~23,700–15,500 years ago during the last glacial period, and diverged from Europeans ~15,900–9,100 years ago between the last glacial warming and the start of the Neolithic.

They also released their data consisting of 75 Lebanese from different regions of the country, with 25 samples each for Muslims, Druze and Christians.

Here are the HarappaWorld admixture results for the Lebanese.

You can check the spreadsheet too.

As the authors mention in the summary:

Population stratification caused by nonrandom mating between groups of the same species is often due to geographical distances leading to physical separation followed by genetic drift of allele frequencies in each group. In humans, population structures are also often driven by geographical barriers or distances; however, humans might also be structured by abstract factors such as culture, a consequence of their reasoning and self-awareness. Religion in particular, is one of the unusual conceptual factors that can drive human population structures. This study explores the Levant, a region flanked by the Middle East and Europe, where individual and population relationships are still strongly influenced by religion. We show that religious affiliation had a strong impact on the genomes of the Levantines. In particular, conversion of the region's populations to Islam appears to have introduced major rearrangements in populations' relations through admixture with culturally similar but geographically remote populations, leading to genetic similarities between remarkably distant populations like Jordanians, Moroccans, and Yemenis. Conversely, other populations, like Christians and Druze, became genetically isolated in the new cultural environment. We reconstructed the genetic structure of the Levantines and found that a pre-Islamic expansion Levant was more genetically similar to Europeans than to Middle Easterners.

the Lebanese can be grouped better based on religion than region. That's why I am using group averages by religion.

Participation Changes

Now that I have DIY HarappaWorld out, I am changing the participation requirements a little bit with somewhat different requirements for South Asians compared to other regions.

If you have any real ancestry from a South Asian origin, you are eligible to participate. Partial South Asian ancestry is okay. The list of countries of origin I count as South Asian are as follows:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka

Note that 2-3% South Asian from Dr. McDonald's BGA or Dodecad Project does not count as South Asian ancestry.

If you have all four of your grandparents from one of the following countries or regions, you can also send me your data.

  • Burma
  • Tibet
  • Uyghur from Xinjiang, China
  • Tajikistan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Iran
  • Turkey
  • Azerbaijan
  • Armenia
  • Georgia
  • North Caucasian Federal District, Russia
  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Lebanon
  • Jordan

Relatives will only be accepted when they are a better replacement for current participants. For example, replacing a participant by his/her parents or his maternal uncle and paternal aunt gets us two unrelated participants (assuming, of course, that the two sides of the family are not related by blood). Another example could be if a participant is of partial South Asian ancestry and they get replaced by a relative who has more South Asian ancestry.

Everyone else can use DIY HarappaWorld. It's fairly easy to use on both Windows and Linux. The only hard part right now is that you have to install R to standardize your genome file. I might look into creating an executable for that to make it easier.

Finally, please be honest.

Behar et al Data

In their paper "The genome-wide structure of the Jewish people", Behar et al analyzed the genomes of some Jewish groups. More important than the Jewish samples (which include two South Asian Jewish groups) for us are the different South Asian, Middle Eastern, and European groups they sampled:

Ethnic group Count
Saudis 20
Jordanians 20
Georgians 20
Turks 19
Iranians 19
Hungarians 19
Ethiopians 19
Armenians 19
Lezgins 18
Chuvashs 17
Syrians 16
Romanians 16
Uzbeks 15
Spaniards 12
Egyptians 12
Cypriots 12
Moroccans 10
Lithuanians 10
North Kannadi 9
Belorussian 9
Yemenese 8
Lebanese 7
Sakilli 4
Paniya 4
Cochin Jews 4
Bene Israel 4
Samaritians 2
Russian 2
Malayan 2

Of the 466 samples, I excluded 8 because they were either duplicates or too similar in their genomes to others.

The series matrix files that I downloaded were in a somewhat different format. To convert them to Plink format, I had to look up the platform file for the Illumina genotyping BeadChip they used. Also, Illumina used an A/B alleles and Top/Bot strands system instead of the regular ACGT alleles and forward/reverse strands. This Illumina Technote explained it and I found a Perl script to convert between the two.